Food For Thought…Fear

I just had a flashback to my childhood. I was sitting in bed and running down my mental checklist for the following day and planning out the route when I extended my arm and stretched. In doing so my arm went over the edge of the bed. I remembered how when I was little I hated my limbs to be near the edge of the bed for fear the “whatever that lives under my bed will come and get me”. I know I’m not alone and that we’ve all had this feeling of dread at one point or another. Why did we think that if we hid under the covers the monsters couldn’t see us? Or that they couldn’t get to us if we were safely on our bed? Fears are just like that,…illogical. Nonsensical.

For example,…ok, deep breathe, ladybugs freak me out. I hate them. They make my skin crawl. Does this fear make sense? No. Is there any natural reason to have a massive fear of ladybugs? Not at all. Fears magnify untruths and make us confidently believe lies so that we reject what is true. We may be older and not afraid of monsters under our beds anymore but there are other monsters that keep us awake at night. Can I make a small suggestion? How about a light. The Light of God’s word. His light penetrates all darkness and protects us from evil.

Little kids want to run to daddy’s arms when the are scared. We are not too far behind. Isn’t it nice to know that God has a very loving brace for His fearful children. Mark 10:14-16″But when Jesus saw it , he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”

Food For Thought…Growth

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2

We just picked up our strawberry plants and our apple trees today.  I am so excited to plant them.  We buy them every year and just keep adding to our little homestead.  Each year they send you with huge packets of directions for planting.

As I sat down and read the directions, each paper said to plant the tree, then prune the tree in order to ignite healthy growth.  Even the strawberries, the directions stated to trim the roots back a little, and then pluck all of the flowers so that the plant will get established and…..grow.  God reminded me how He does that same thing in our lives.  He prunes us, removes the worthless and dead parts of our lives in order for us to spiritually grow. 

Pruning and refining is never a comfortable thing for us though, is it? No one looks forward to God pruning things or removing things from us. We must be moldable ladies.  Often times we avoid God’s plan to mold us.  Our hearts become hard, pride begins to grow, and the fruit that comes forth from our lives becomes rotten.  God must remove the things in our lives that distract us from His plans and purposes. By walking in His callings, free from bondages and distractions,  we will bear much fruit.  Sweet fruit. Fruit that will remain. 

Pruning makes a plant lighter, and as God prunes us, the things that bog us down and hold us back are removed from our lives.  We carry weights for far too long because often times our pride gets in the way of what God is trying to do in our lives.  Ladies, God wants to remove the junk in your life.  The things that distract you, the things that take up your time, the things that are not eternal.  Be willing to let God remove those things from your life. At times it is not comfortable, at times your feel broken.  The fruit that will come forth far outweigh the trial, it will outlast the pain of your pruning.  Sit before God today, and ask Him to remove the things in your life that are not glorifying to Him. 

Food For Thought….He Loves Us at Our Weakest

We usually think people only love us for our strengths. We try to mask our shortcomings and failures thinking people would run in the opposite direction if they truly knew all of us. Why do we kid ourselves into thinking that we will eventually be strong in every aspect in our lives? We are made to fit together as a unit. Be it in community, friendships, family, or what have you.

A positive will attach to a negative and the bond that forms is strong. Did you ever play with magnets growing up? Did you feel the tension of the two like sides repelling each other? I am so thankful the Lord is our matching half. Our weakness connects to His strength and becomes greater than it could ever be on its own. His bond completes us. He proved just how much He loved us when He redeemed us at our weakest moment and said, “I love you and you are mine. Nothing diminishes that. Nothing hinders that. I would not love you more if you were a millionaire and I would not love you less if all you offered me was your heart. I love you, period.” That is the Love He is pouring out on us today. He invites us to bring our weakness and what we feel will push Him away. Bring it to me. Bring it all. Lord, we lift our hearts to you today. They may be in pieces, bleeding, wounded or just in need of another dose of your love. However we are we come to you today. I ask that we take a minute to bring our being to you and not just our needs. Lord, I lift my heart to you today. We want to fall so desperately in love with you that we can bring our weakest part to you unashamed and know you still love us. If we have forgotten that I ask that you will remind us. 

2 Corinthians 13:4 “For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.”

Written By :Courtney Gilkinson

Food For Thought….Time

When I type devotionals for this site, I type them the night before they are published. Then I schedule them to be published the next morning.   Each day when I type in the “scheduled date” it is a reminder to me of how quickly time goes by.  I just typed April 20.  It seems like yesterday I was typing December 20. 

Think about this scripture… 
“See that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16

The word Redeem in this scripture come from the Greek word Exagorazo. Meaning “to purchase”.   It means to purchase and make most of the opportunities that are presented to you.  Ladies, I dont want to live a wasted life.  I want my life to count, to matter, to make a difference.  The word Redeem in this scripture is in the present tense,  that means that we need to make this our lifestyle, to live it out.  Unfortunately we get caught up in the “endure today and live for tomorrow” attitude. A survey that I read said that most people agree that this is their attitude.  Do you know how many opportunities we miss out on when we are living just to endure the day? We are merely just surviving as we wait for a better tomorrow, better circumstances, and expecting a better life. 

You must understand, that is the mentality that Satan wants us to have.  He wants us to be discontent in our circumstances so that we are always waiting for the next best thing.  All while we are missing out on the blessings and opportunities that are fleeting today.

We all have the same amount of time each day.  24 Hours= 1440 minutes=86,000 seconds.   The difference is what we do to redeem that time.  Like I said, the Greek word means to purchase it.  You will either purchase it, or you will let it slip away.  The opportune moments in our lives are quickly flying.  The moments to pour into our kids, the moments to love others, the moments to share the truth of God’s grace with a world that is dying.  Those moments will quickly disappear and we will stand before the One who created those moments.  I want to stand before Him with no regrets, knowing that I ran my race well and will receive the prize. 

Ladies, the days are fleeting.  The time is passing. Don’t live a wasted life. Seize those opportunities to love others and to represent Jesus.  Soon this will all be over, I long to hear Him say “well done.”

Food For thought…Distractions

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I’m sitting here at my table with my hands on my head. I’m pondering. I’m upset. I’m mad really. Mad at the devil because his schemes are deep and his is very successful at distracting people. I started a study the other day and it was talking about praying for the coming of the Lord. As I did I began to think of people who I knew that are unsaved. I can’t pray for God’s coming to be hastened if I am not willing to be more earnest about their salvation. It makes me wonder,…“what have I bound on earth lately?”

If I have the promise in Matthew 16:19 “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” I’m here mad at the devil but have I prayed that he be bound? Lord,…I pray for those who are taken in  his lies. I pray that you break the chains that tie them to his deceits. Break them completely. Open our hearts to your truth and to the realization of the lies we have believed. Release you Spirit among us that we may know your goodness and truth. We are so accustomed to the lies of the enemy because he is the only one we listen to. Forgive us. Forgive us. Block the voice of the devil from us so that we may hear you clearly!

Written By: Courtney Gilkinson

Food for Thought..Surrender

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My friend Courtney sent me this devotional.  Often times we give the Lord a partial surrender.  Or you know, we outwardly say “Lord I surrender” but it is just mere words and inwardly our hearts have never surrendered.  I have done that more than once 🙂 We must realize that unless we fully surrender to God, we will always be wrestling with God. He wants all of our hearts, all of our lives, all that we are! Ladies, what is God calling you to surrender to Him today? Lay it at His feet, and let Him being you peace as He works in your life. 

Written by Courtney:

There is a singer/songwriter that has written some song lyrics that meet us at a point of surrender. “Lord, I’m ready now. All my walls are down. Time is running out and I wanna make this count. I ran away from you and I did what I wanted to but I don’t wanna let you down. Lord I’m ready now,…Lord, I’m ready now.”

Each of us have a story of when we were at odds with the Lord. Struggling as it were to have our own way but yet there was something inside of us that knew we needed to surrender completely to Him. Surrender half way will never work. We keep ourselves miserable because we refuse to land on one side of the line or the other. Our battle is within ourselves many times. Will we let go? Will we forgive? Will we ask for forgiveness? Will we allow the Lord to correct us? It’s all about His power and our will. He will more than meet us if we are willing to come with hands raise and live with abandon.
James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Food for thought….Can you admit when you are wrong?

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I come from an Italian family.  I remember my grandfather saying, even if your mother is wrong, she still is never wrong.  We fight to the death over things, because it is hard to mutter those despicable words “I was wrong”.  I avoid those words at all costs! I’m joking…..sort of.  But who wants to be wrong? I sure don’t, and I’m sure you don’t either.  This week, I did something that my husband asked me not to do.  Why? Because I thought my way was better than his.  (I’m still contemplating whether it WAS still better).  Do you want to know what the end result was? FAILURE, CATASTROPHE, and ANGER.  The first two things you would expect.  Yes it failed, but why the anger? I got angry that my husband asked me not to do something, and in the spur of the moment I told him it’s his fault that it didn’t work because he vexed me by telling me not to do it (even though it was a good idea).  I have to laugh at myself now. I blamed him for something that didn’t work because he asked me not to do it. Looking back I am wondering if I was just having a hormonal moment and not thinking clearly.

I couldn’t admit that I was wrong.  I HATED that it didn’t work, and I was furious. Here is the root of the problem….PRIDE.  I was too prideful to admit that my idea was not the best.  I was too prideful to tell someone else that they were right, and I was W.R.O.N.G! Wrong with a capital W! I still get flustered when I think about it.  What about you?  When your husband tells you to do or not to do something, what if you have a “better” idea? Can you admit that you are wrong? I hate to mutter those horrible words “I am wrong”.

“Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice” Proverbs 13:10

Did you hear that? PRIDE BREEDS QUARRELS.  Wow, is that true! I think a lot of marriages struggle because neither spouse is willing to say “I was wrong”.  Instead they go on being annoyed with each other, and gripping the fact that they think the other person was wrong.  We are called to be submissive.  The Bible doesn’t say “be submissive only if you think your husband has a good idea” It says to be submissive!

Here is the thing ladies, your husband’s idea may stink, it may not be the best one, and it may drive you nuts.  When you love God and serve Him, he will give you the ability to JOYFULLY submit.  Without Him, you’ll find yourself in the same position I was in, angry, and unwilling to say you were wrong.  We are called to help our husbands, to serve alongside them, to be the keeper of our homes NOT the head of our homes, to cherish them, and to be humble in our role.

God is always working in us, He equips us to be a joy-filled wife who sets the tone for our homes to be joyful also.

 

 

Food For Thought…What God Sees

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“I the LORD search the heart” Jeremiah 17:10

I hate war movies, my husband LOVES them!  He teaches history class, and he loves to know about history.  He could tell you who was in every war, who won, how they won, the date that they won.  I barely know who was even involved in wars, and to be honest I really have no desire to know.  

When we have a free night and the kids are in bed (rare), if its early enough, we’ll watch a movie.  I always try to pick a romance, or a comedy.  But almost every time we end up watching a war movie! Exact opposite of what I have picked. So I watch it only because he wants me to, and most of the time I fall asleep during them.  But we watched one a couple nights ago, I acutally did stay awake, but not much to my surprise I hated the movie.  Now, dont get me wrong, I dont hate these movies in a disrespectful way to anyone that has fought in a war.  Rather, I hate them because it’s upsetting to see the lives that have been lost, the cruelty that one human being can have towards another while in POW camps.  In the particular movie that we watched, a Christian was in a prisoner of war camp and he was brutally beaten by a prison guard who was relentlessly vicious.  

It was such an upsetting movie.  It ended in freedom for this man who then went on to serve God, but it much reminded me of the story of Corrie Ten Boom who was tortured in a concentration camp.  In the end she too was free and forgave her accusers, but the pain that she must have felt is so upsetting to me.  The idea that people could treat eachother so badly, so unlovingly, so brutally is beyond my comprehension. 

I was telling my brother about this yesterday and how upsetting it is to see that people are capable of such evil.  He then said “imagine the things that God sees”.  These movies are just the things that we know about in history.  Imagine the lives that have been lost, children murdered, people tortured that we dont even know about.  It’s overwhelming for me to even think about it, yet God sees not only these outward atrocities, He sees the heart behind them.  

I get so angry during war movies, that I cant stand the thought of the enemy winning.  I cant stand the thought that this man was brutally beaten every day and there was nothing that anyone could do to help him.  I want justice to be served, I want those wicked people who tortured another to be punished.  But the heart of God is different.  He indeed is just, but it amazes me that God sees the hearts of mankind, yet He still chose to die for us.  He still loves us beyond what we can comprehend.  He did not come to destroy, but to fulfill.  He came to save the lost, the sinners, the wicked. He loves the wicked prison guard as much as He loves you and I, and He came to die for that prison guard’s sins just the same as He died for mine. 

 He knows the heart of every man, and often times we can assume that our hearts are not evil, that we are full of love, that we would never hurt another person.  God sees beyond the outward of our lives.  He sees what’s in your heart dear sisters.  He sees the love, the hate, the bitterness, and everything in between.  Yet He still loves us.  What an amazing God! Ask God today to show you the hidden things in your heart that He wants to change and make new.  We can’t hide them from Him, He sees them all. I pray that He would change our hearts today, make us more like Him, and give us a love for one another that only He can give.

Food For Thought…Cut Out the Junk

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As I came into work today a fellow employee was standing in an odd position in the doorway of a bathroom. I noticed as I walked by that they were hunched over. I backed up and was like “what are you doing?” Then I saw that they were standing on the scale. We exchanged a few encouraging words but one thing stuck out to me. The thing that helped them lose weigh wasn’t a pill, shake, or anything that was instantaneous. Nope. They said “I cut out the junk”.

Hmmmm can you imagine?! We feel so much better when we eat right. We know what we should do but we enjoy the taste of something and don’t think of the repercussions. That has so many spiritual applications. What would your life look like if you kicked out the junk? Lost the taste for sinful things? Within the last few days I have had a few people on my mind I would like to see saved. They are fun to talk to, make me laugh and are driven people but they don’t have Jesus. I’m praying for the Lord to remove the junk from their lives. Shake them a little bit and do an overall cleanse. Can you imagine the before and after pictures that we could have!!?

Lord, I cry out to you today for each one who is needing to pull out unhealthy and unfulfilling habits. I pray that they would no longer find peace and satisfaction in them. Set a deep desire that they may seek you and find you and realize that YOU and you alone full to the uttermost! Exodus 30:18 “Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal : and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.” There is always a place and time of cleansing and renewal in our lives. We must be renewed daily. We take a shower everyday or almost everyday. Being clean is a process. Remind us that it’s not a one time deal!

Written By:Courtney Gilkinson

Food for Thought….Love is a Choice

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This is a guest post by Tasia from Batavia’s Best Bargains!  

 

Love is a choice. Think about that for a minute.  A choice.  Each and every day we choose to love or we choose to not love. My husband and I have been together for eleven years, married for six.

In the first two years of our relationship we fought A LOT. Our on going argument seemed to be Eric telling me I was so unhappy because I wasn’t accepting him for who he was.

My walk with God was all over the place. I walked on the path he paved for me when I felt like it at that stage of life. And so did my husband. I wanted my husband to cater to my needs, which I wasn’t even sure of those needs myself. Eric was the first person to put me in my place that I actually heard.

Many people get married and experience a HUGE disappointment with their spouse because the truth is you realize you married an imperfect person. Once you realize that we are all flawed your vision becomes more beautiful.

Pride was and still knocks us over once in awhile in our marriage. I didn’t realize it years ago that I was prideful. I thought I was somehow better, more capable than my husband.

If you are having an argument with your spouse today stop those thoughts immediately. Pride will run wild in your mind and turn into anger, which will harden your heart.

Proverbs 11:2

“When pride comes, then comes shame;

But with the humble is wisdom.”

I need to make the choice to love my husband. Each day. Every day. Intentionally. I needed to be reminded that he was created in the image of God. It’s not just marriages that are constantly a tug at our heartstrings, it’s all our relationships.

Each day we have a choice to hold onto our pride, our resentment our anger, or we can choose to love. And when we choose love, we learn to let go.

Marriage is intended to help us mature. We take turns with our spouse as pilot and co-pilot of a jet plane. When our spouse exposes a flaw or weakness in our character, we need to react to listen and learn. We are navigating this plane together.

We are all rough around the edges. It is our spouse’s job to sand us as smooth as God created us to be. Today I love the person my husband is. I love that the way to grow closer is to grow closer to God. We aren’t completely smooth yet, but our edges are rounder now.

Today I encourage you to choose to love. Love the way Christ loves us. So that not only your marriage will flourish all your relationships will blossom.

 

Tasia is a blogger over at BataviaBestBargains.com. She is a stay at home mom to two beautiful daughters. She went back to work after her first daughter was born to pay off their debt . One year later all her debt (except for mortgage) was paid off. On her blog she shares in-store deals, exclusive small business coupons for Batavia area, her faith journey, and how they are living a frugal lifestyle and loving it.